Mr Massimov said Kazakhstan was negotiating an agreement with China to fund farming projects in Kazakhstan. “We are not giving China any land. The land code forbids it. But if we have a buyer [for crops], be it China or Arabia, then let’s sell,” he said.
The head of state at the last session of the Council of Foreign Investors informed that China had requested to lease 1 million hectares of Kazakh farmland for cultivation of rape and soya. According to A. Evniev, "It is not a lease, it is a question of joint manufacture. In this case, it is soya and later it will be corn and rape."
A group of private Saudi investors said they plan to start a company with $533.3 million capital that will invest in farm projects mainly abroad. First projects may be with Ghana, Turkey and Kazakhstan.
The emergence of the farmland asset class is not without pitfalls with the provision of food always highly political and a tentative global economic recovery potentially threatened by the H1N1 flu pandemic, fund managers said.
Since details emerged of Saudi Arabia’s plans to ensure supplies of wheat, rice, corn, soya beans and alfalfa through overseas agricultural investments, officials have insisted that they intended the programme to be private-sector led.
Japan is considering providing loans from a government-owned bank for companies to purchase and lease farmland abroad, Munemitsu Hirano, counsellor at the international affairs department of the Ministry of Agriculture, Forestry and Fisheries, said.